Storms that were looming throughout La Plata on Saturday finally made their presence felt in a big way as the Coors Charles-St. Mary’s Baseball league kicked off its 2020 season belatedly at Rainbow Construction field in La Plata.
Following a rather quick season opener, won 4-3 by the Pomfret Pirates — formerly the Hyper Bombers — over the Indian Head Indians, the two teams appeared headed for another dramatic contest in the second half of the twin-bill. Five of the six teams in CHASM this summer will play all 18 games under a doubleheader format, with the St. Mary’s 19-and-Under team limited to 10 games.
Bolstered by its narrow victory in the opener, Pomfret (2-0 overall) gained the upper hand in the second game and led 8-1 until Indian Head (0-2) scored once in the home half of the fourth inning then added five runs in the bottom of the fifth to get within 8-7. As claps of thunder grew louder and winds picked up, Pomfret responded with three runs in the top of the sixth.
But the game never made it to the home half of the inning. Several fierce lightning strikes nearby were immediately followed by even louder claps of thunder and within minutes heavy rains arrived. Not only did the umpires halt the second game in the top of the sixth — making the final score 8-7 through five complete — the deluge prevented the second doubleheader between La Plata and St. Mary’s 19-U team from ever starting.
“One minute everything was fine and it looked like we could play out the second game, then the next minute it just poured,” said Indian Head coach Darren Sanders, now in his 18th season in the league. “I’ve never seen the field covered with so much rain. There’s probably six inches of water in the dugouts. We were trapped in there when the storm started.”
Pomfret coach Jason Simms commended his players for taking advantage of the opportunities they were presented with in each half of the doubleheader. The Pirates prevailed in the opener courtesy of an error that enabled them to generate two unearned runs late against Indian Head hurler Greg Conden, who spent last summer with the St. Mary’s Door, a team that bypassed this year’s slate due in part to its main sponsor being closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our guys were more excited about getting out there and playing a game that they love,” said Simms, whose team got home runs from Dylan Henderson and Julian Grant II. “I told our team before the games that you truly don’t understand what you love until it’s been taken away from us and for my guys that was playing baseball. We beat a great, competitive veteran team that is coached by Darren Sanders.”
Storms arrived along with the players and coaches from the teams slated to play in the second doubleheader. As rains and winds intensified, the awaiting teams both convened in the grandstands in a structure that is not entirely enclosed and could only serve as temporary solace.
“We have a really young team,” said Simms, whose team has dedicated the season to Parrell Young, the late former Black Sox coach. “All 19 of our guys played collectively as a unit for the first time on Saturday. We still can get better and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us this season.”
All six teams in the league are scheduled to play doubleheaders on Sunday. At Rainbow Construction field, La Plata is slated to play Indian Head at 9 a.m. followed by Western Charles versus Pomfret at 2:30 p.m. Legion Post 255 is slated to take on St. Mary’s Legion at 1 p.m. at Chancellor’s Run Regional Park in Great Mills.
“It was a weird start to a weird season,” Sanders said. “Usually by now we’re almost halfway through the season. Here were are playing our first games in June. A lot of guys haven’t had much chance to practice or take swings against live pitching. I think we still have a pretty good squad. We probably have six or seven guys that can pitch.”